That was a year ago. I’ve shared my story of being rescued with a lot of people who’ve wished me well. Privately, my wife tells me she’s not seen much change in me. It’s true, I’ve still got a few things that make me human: a short temper, I don’t help with the kids all that much, and I do enjoy some me time on certain websites that some of those people at the church would probably object to. And no, I don’t worry myself too much with people around me who are lost like some say I should. But hey, I’m saved! That’s what matters!
I should probably read my Bible one of these days but I’ve found it’s really hard to understand. Some of our friends keep saying I should come to worship, but I don’t see the need. I can just as easily talk with God in my garage or out on a trail in the woods.
I do pray. Just the other night our daughter was 45 minutes late for her curfew and hadn’t checked in. I was really praying then!
I’m a pretty good guy I think. Ok, so maybe I don’t help a lot of people but at least I don’t hurt anybody. That should count for something!
Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. 2 Cor.13:5
They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. Titus 1:16
The Lord knows those who are his… Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness. 2 Tim.2:19
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ Matt.7:21-23
It was poor judgment on my part. We scheduled our wedding 2 days before the opening day of Pennsylvanian’s deer season. Course, at the time I wasn’t a hunter. Nor the son of a hunter. There wasn’t one in the family; not my dad, not his dad. Nor my other grandfather. Except for the family I’d married into, my closest hunting relative was an uncle. So, no need to avoid a late November wedding lest hunting season conflicted with future anniversaries.
The next year my company closed on the first day of deer season so Betty and I decided to celebrate our first anniversary in the woods. Hunting. Our rifles were mostly window dressing. Neither of us had any intention of hunting. Good hunters work hard at minimizing odors and sounds but my wife and I talked irritatingly loud, ate our picnic lunch noisily, and generally drove other hunters away.
During the day we heard gunshots, watched as a fox ran by, but hadn’t seen any whitetails. Mid-afternoon that began to change as one doe after another soundlessly appeared. Beautiful animals, regal, elegant, so stealthy. By the 4th or 5th one I was hooked. The change from spectator to hunter was all but instantaneous. In the 38 years since, I’ve taken several nice buck and numerous does with both rifle and bow.
Now I’m done. After last season, I quit. I’ve threatened to write the PA Game Commission a letter but probably won’t. What drew me to hunt deer–seeing them, has been reversed by Game Commission rules which have severely reduced the state’s deer herd. Especially on state land where I hunt. It’s not unusual to hunt several days without seeing so much as a tail. I love to hunt even if I don’t bring home venison. But with not seeing deer in the woods becoming the norm, I’m done.
I have other hobbies and nobody will suffer if I don’t hunt. But what if that’s our thinking about sharing the good news? Could not seeing fruit lead us to say, “Fine, I’m done.”? In that case, others might suffer. God assigned each of us to be on mission right where we are. Wherever a believer doesn’t act on his/her assignment, there’s a hole in the coverage. Are each of us attentive to the Spirit’s promptings? Are we available for God to use in someone’s journey towards God’s salvation?
Admittedly it’s discouraging when we don’t see fruit from our efforts. But do not be dismayed. God always gets his man. Or his woman. Or his child. Our job is to tell. His is to call.
While I realize these are professing Muslims, I do not think they have much in common with the world’s Muslims–the vast majority who go to mosques, recite the Qur’an in Arabic, but have no plans to dress up as a bomb. The debate will not end about whether the many peaceful Muslims or the few jihadists are most faithful to Muhammad’s words. But this much we know: they all need the good news, they all need to discover the God who–instead of shedding His enemies’ blood, shed His own on their behalf.
What will it take to reach the planet earth’s 1.52 million Muslims with the good news about Jesus? What technology will be required, what resources and plans? In addition to the willingness of growing numbers of gifted Christians to die, I think it will be love that leads to risk-taking. Will well-intentioned strategies or goals matter if none of us will take some risks for Jesus? Start a gutsy conversation with a Jordanian Arab on a plane or a woman wearing a Hijab at the supermarket. Set aside some time to pray with your spouse or children for Muslims (get “Operation World” to guide you). We–every person who claims to love Jesus Christ–could decide that lost Muslims are no longer acceptable. Think of it.